Your employer may engage in various tactics that result in your not getting the total pay you deserve, including when it comes to overtime pay. Those techniques may be intentional or they may be negligent but, either way, they may be a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and may entitle you to receive compensation. Time to act and seek that compensation is limited, however, so make sure you contact a knowledgeable Atlanta overtime lawyer right away if you think you have been illegally denied the overtime you deserve.
A case from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is a prime example. What started as an investigation into improper employment practices at a single golf driving range eventually expanded… by a great deal. By the time the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division finished, a Texas-based employer was on the hook for $750,000 in improperly unpaid overtime wages to more than 250 employers in 25 states. That group included 11 driving range employees here in the Atlanta area.
Of the $750,000, nearly $50,000 went to those 11 Georgia employees, including $16,000 to four employees at the Alpharetta driving range and nearly $33,000 to seven employees at the West Midtown location.
The improper practice was not unique to this chain of driving ranges. The employer gave the employees job titles indicating that they were “event sales managers” and, as a result, declared them to be exempt employees who were not eligible for overtime pay. (The driving range paid these managers salary plus commission only.)
Of course, the FLSA does have an “executive exemption” when it comes to providing overtime pay to managerial employees, but it is not enough simply for employers to hand out job titles with the word “manager” in them. In a press release, the Wage and Hour Division stated that “Employers cannot evade federal overtime requirements by simply giving an employee a manager’s title. This case should serve as a clear warning and prompt other employers to review their pay practices.”
Executive Exemption Requires the Employee to Perform Actual Managerial Tasks
The executive exemption says that, for an employee to qualify, he/she must: (1) make at least $684 per week, (2) must have, as their primary job duty, the management of the entity or a recognized subgroup of the entity, (3) must actually manage at least two full-time employees (or their equivalent,) and (4) must have the power to hire and fire workers, or at least make hiring and firing recommendations that are given very strong weight.
These event sales managers at the driving range didn’t meet all of those criteria and should have been paid overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a week.
This golf employer’s case isn’t the first time this issue has impacted Georgia workers in recent years. Back in March, a regional supermarket chain paid more than $7.2 million to settle an overtime lawsuit that employees filed here in Atlanta with the Northern District of Georgia federal court.
According to those workers, the supermarket would give various deli, bakery, and meat department employees the title of “manager,” declare them exempt and then not pay them overtime. Allegedly, though, the deli, bakery, and meat managers didn’t actually manage, but rather were assigned to non-executive tasks like preparation of food, stocking of merchandise, providing customer service, and cleaning areas of the store. According to the complaint, the supermarket did this intentionally as a means to avoid paying overtime to these workers.
Like the tasks the golf range workers completed, the work these supermarket managers did, regardless of their job titles, allegedly did not meet the criteria the executive exemption lays out, so they should have received overtime pay.
Your time is valuable and you deserve to be compensated appropriately for it. You know that and the law recognizes that. If you’ve been wrongfully denied overtime pay, get in touch with the skilled Atlanta unpaid overtime attorneys at the law firm of Parks, Chesin & Walbert. Our firm is dedicated to helping workers get what they deserve for their efforts. Contact us through this website or at 404-873-8048 to schedule a consultation regarding your situation.